Bustamante Serving Jail Sentence at Private, 20-Bed Facility

Pool photo by Michael Goulding

Former Santa Ana City Councilman and ex-Orange County executive Carlos Bustamante in court in May 2014.

Former Orange County Public Works executive and Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante is serving his one-year sentence at Montebello City Jail, a privately-operated facility where inmates pay to serve their sentence away from the general prison population.

The former rising star of the Orange County Republican Party pled guilty last December to felony counts of stalking, sexual battery by restraint, as well as misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment, assault and attempted sexual battery of several women who worked with him at OC Public Works.

He also pled guilty to charge of a grand theft by false pretense relating to a reimbursement he received from the county.

Bustamante’s stay at the Montebello City Jail was confirmed in an email, with the subject line “High-profile self-pay applicant,” that was filed in court documents and approved by a judge. He began serving his sentence on February 26.

The District Attorney’s Office agreed to allow Bustamante to do his time at the jail out of concerns for his safety, according to his attorney Brent Romney, who has pointed to Bustamante’s history as a former police officer and Santa Ana city councilman. Romney did not return requests for comment.

In addition to one year in jail and five years of probation, Bustamante will be a registered sex offender for life.

Bustamante is not the only disgraced Orange County public official to serve time at the Montebello City Jail. In 2007, former Orange County Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo paid to serve his one-year sentence for a corruption conviction at the facility.

According to the Los Angeles Times, it cost Jaramillo a $100 processing fee and $75 a day to stay at the private jail, where inmates are allowed one electronic device.

A spokesperson for the Montebello City Jail could not be reached for comment.

Geo Group, the company that operates the Montebello City Jail, says it runs 104 correctional facilities around the world. The company was recently under scrutiny after an audit by the Department of Justice found financial mismanagement and staffing deficiencies at an immigration detention facility in Texas.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • John Claxton

    Missing a big piece of the story here – like how much does this jail charge a day and who is flipping the bill? Another OC scandal continues.

  • Ron

    Hmmm. How did SAUSD Boardmembet Rob Richardson escape? He hired Carlos and promoted him knowing that he was a dirt bag. Tisk, tisk Mr. Richardson.

  • Diego Vega

    bad does Geo Group have to be to be investigated for mismanagement and
    deficiencies at a detention facility in Texas?!
    Texas sets the bar VERY low.

  • Paul Lucas

    He can afford this pay to stay hotel jail due to the huge payout he got when he was finally forced out of his job.

  • Jacki Livingston

    No. Just…no. He should have to serve his sentence with the rest of the prison population, cringing in fear because rapists get such special attention. He should live every, single day with that knot in his stomach and fear that this is the day he will be a victim of someone who is more powerful than he is. That would be justice. That would be fair. This? Is bullpucky.

  • David Zenger

    I wonder if he’s getting visits from Bill Campbell, Tom Mauk and Carl Crown.

    • OCservant_Leader

      You know they are. They arranged this “soft” landing. I still hope Busty turns and writes the “tell all” book on the Mauk era.

      • David Zenger

        Write a book? I doubt if he’s ever even read one.

        • OCservant_Leader

          A picture book with bags of money and arrows will work.


      Carl Crown….former HR director for HCA. The only advise I got from him was, beat the system. Tssss

      • David Zenger

        He was in charge of HR for the whole County during the Mauk free-for-all. He put the independent lawyer’s investigation report in his safe and there it sat until Busty was safely out of the way.

        Oddly enough (cough, cough) our tough-talking DA never did anything about Campbell, Mauk and Crown’s involvement in this mess.

        • OCservant_Leader

          Yea- they still can’t dig out of the perfect HR mess Mauk left behind.

          And I have bad news for the good public servants. You will never be promoted, see a raise and you will be driven out before you can collect. Oh you lose 3/4 of your SS too.

          Poor suckers with the velvet handcuffs behind the Orange curtain can yell….but no one hears their screams.